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Baseball And The Atom Bomb

9 Jan 2018, 15:01 UTC
Baseball And The Atom Bomb
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The cloud from the atomic bomb over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima in 1945 was one of the first artificial nuclear detonations (Hiromichi Matsuda).How Moe Berg, a MLB catcher and spy, infiltrated the Nazi nuclear project and almost assassinated Heisenberg.Werner Heisenberg delivered his research seminar in Zurich in December 1944, unaware that there was an American spy in the audience under orders to assassinate him if he offered hints of progress toward an atomic bomb. Luckily, Heisenberg’s talk was an innocuous look at scattering matrices in quantum mechanics. The consummate quantum theorist and proposer of the uncertainty principle was focused on making strides in conceptual understanding, not toward a weapon, at least according to his lecture.Werner Heisenberg (L) with Niels Bohr (R), in 1934 (AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives)Strangely enough, the spy who watched Heisenberg speak and was prepared to shoot him if he talked about a bomb was former major league baseball catcher and coach Morris “Moe” Berg. How did a professional baseball player end up in Switzerland working for the Allies in assessing the German nuclear program? Thanks to Einstein, dice-rolling has become associated with quantum uncertainty — but deuce (curveball)-catching?Moe Berg played a total of 15 years as a ...

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